A Sociolinguistic Look at Resiano
Keywords:Val Resia, Slovenian, dialect, sociolinguistics, language management
The Slovene dialect of Val Resia and the neighbouring Slovenian-speaking valleys, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, is embedded behind a mountain buttress which isolates this micro-dialect area from the Slovenian dialect network. A rich tradition of research has documented Resiano and similar varieties for two centuries already, and contributes to the revival of local language and culture, through forms of “bottom-up” language management, involving active and proficient cultural circles and organizations. An idiosyncratic form of corpus planning took shape in the 1990s, based on specific research work considering the internal dialect diversity of this micro-region. However, various points of view are opposed in the sociolinguistic and political agora between, on the one hand, those who advocate a localist individuation and reject integration of Resian within the framework of Slovenian dialects, denying kinship with Slovenian, and on the other hand, those who are committed to forms of polynomic integration, cultivating links with Slovene as the reference language. Three models of development are proposed, according to an architectural metaphor of this ethnolinguistic Bildung: i) the fortress (denying affiliation to Slovene, and rejecting it as a model for corpus planning), ii) the bridge (enhancing close kinship with Slovene, and converging with its status planning), and iii) the drawbridge (enforcing specificity without rejecting affinity with Slovene, and cross-border cooperation with Slovenia). Nowadays, the drawbridge model seems to prevail, although the fortress and bridge trends are still latent locally. The “Resian case”, showing constant search of a balance between conflictual standpoints between separation vs. assimilation, happens to be a particularly interesting situation for language endangerment and sociolinguistic studies.
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